Thank you Kristy for taking the time to answer these questions!!
Jean Nicolas: What is the best way in which one can get into the industry? Like for example a freshly college grad?
Intern, Intern, Intern.
If you finish university and still have no industry internships, do another degree at a fashion school or take classes, and often that can lead to an internship. Often fashion schools require several internships and it can help you get a foot in the door.
Andreea: where do you see the online-related jobs going in the future? :)
I used to think marketing for fashion was mostly PR but I’m seeing it evolve a lot into digital marketing, community management (social media), and more.
Marie: Is there room to succeed within fashion without having primarily a fashion degree? Say business, arts, whatever – but with fashion experience and courses?
Absolutely. I think it’s almost better to have a liberal arts or business background with internships in fashion. A lot of people do a 4 year degree at a very good school in something like Economics, and then do an Associate’s degree at a fashion school like Parsons, or take night/weekend classes at FIT. Or in Europe Central Saint Martins, for example. The fashion school is not even that important if you can find the fashion internships without it. It’s a good back up if you can’t find them on your own.
How many unpaid internships do most put up with?
Most of the corporate fashion brands do pay their interns. I know some companies have unpaid interns, but they really should not from a legal perspective. A lot of people will take unpaid internships for short periods of time – maybe for fashion week, or a month long experience, just to get a brand on the resume, but beyond that it is rare that anyone would work for free for longer than a month or two, especially with a college degree.
Which personality skills are the most important when working in the industry (e.g. persistence, creativity, enthusiasm, social skills..)
To be successful in any job, I think it’s important to be humble, work hard, be honest, curious, and yes people skills can’t hurt you! In fashion it’s also important to have a polished image and great style.
Jo: How often and what method (email, telephone or in person?) would you recommend following up with an HR personnel after applying for a job? I want to stay on their radar without being annoying.
The best thing to do is email the HR team with your resume in every email, along with a very brief message that is not too pushy. I like it when people email me and say something like this: “Hi Kristy, I’m just checking in again to see if you have any new jobs that fit my profile. I’m looking for a Sales Director job in RTW for the contemporary market. My salary target is about $125k + bonus, and I would love to work for x, y and z brands… I’m currently still employed at ABC company, but I’m interested in moving on when the right thing comes along. Here’s my CV attached again. Reach out anytime! Thanks, Signature” Then include in the message full name, cell phone number, linked in profile link. Then send something like that every few weeks. As long as the HR person doesn’t have to respond, it’s great to hear from candidates in this way. I would suggest not being too pushy about wanting to set up calls and meetings. No HR person has time to meet you unless they are actively working on a search that fits your profile.You just have to be ever present so when the right thing does come up, you are on their radar. That’s why I tell people to follow me on Twitter and FB and email me when I post something they are interested in.
Elise: How does it work for graphic designers? For example, to be able to work on the layouts of magazines like Self service, how do you get to work on that type of project? What kind of portfolio is it necessary to have?
Truthfully, I don’t work with a lot of graphic designers. Most of the fashion brands I work with outsource this type of thing. Or if it’s a big fashion company and they have a whole creative team in house, occasionally this type of role will come up, but I don’t see it as often as I do retail management, sales, HR, etc. Regarding portfolios, I like a pdf of the CV on page 1 and then 4 or 5 pages with your best work.
Mallaury: What are the best businesses to do internships with? Until now, I’ve done internships at the big houses to bulk up my C.V. (Chanel or Marc Jacobs), but the luxury industry isn’t my priority; really it’s fashion and fashion analysis that interests me. The small designers, the press…what are some other options of where to find internships?
Every company needs help so find the companies you are passionate about, whatever they are, and write to them. If you are interested in the smaller brands, great! Not everyone is! I agree it’s good to get some big names on your resume, but you should find your passion and seek it out.